People in Osceola Twp. Torn on Court’s Decision to Repeal Case Involving Nestle

On Tuesday, Michigan’s Court of Appeals reversed the decision that forced Osceola Township to give Nestle a zoning approval.

The township argued that Nestle’s request to build a new pump did not follow their zoning rules. Now, Nestle must ask for the property to be re-zoned or take the case all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Maryann Borden says the court’s decision is one she’s been waiting for. “They’re going to pump and pump and pump, you know, and our creeks are going to suffer because of it.”

Since Ice Mountain began pumping water out of Osceola Township, Borden says the creek she’s grown up visiting doesn’t look the same. “Personally I don’t hear anymore the frogs or toads, which everybody says so what, that’s means there’s something wrong down at the creek.”

In 2017, a circuit court judge ruled that Nestle could build the new pump, stating that the water was essential to human life and Nestle was providing a public service. On Tuesday that decision was reversed.

“The longer it goes and the longer we see the way our creeks are these days, the more people we get that say yeah we’ve changed our mind, we don’t like this,” says Borden.

But not everyone agrees. Eric Schmidt, owner of Affordable Prints in Evart says a business show be allowed to build and grow if they follow the law. “That’s why we put all of those in place. “[Nestle’s] following the rules and I don’t understand why so much money is being wasted on lawyers on the setbacks, it’s gone wasted,” says Schmidt.

A conflict that some say has gone on too long. Flint Weinberg, producer of Talk of the Town Magazine, says, “It needs to be over, but I think it would be in the communities best interest if they would be decided in favor of Nestle Waters.”

However, Borden says it’s far from over. “I’m sure that Nestle will appeal that, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if this battle is not over.”